Jessica Norrie’s Top 10 Writing Tips
Welcome to week 9 of our Top 10 Writing Tips by… feature. If you’ve missed any of the other top tip posts you can find them all HERE. Please feel free to pop over and connect with the wonderful authors who have taken part.
Next up for the challenge is author Jessica Norrie.
Jessica is the author of The Magic Carpet (2019) and The Infinity Pool (2015) and a co-authored textbook.
Jessica’s Top Ten Tips:
- Get started! When you really can’t think of anything to write, write something anyway. Because you can’t start editing (= improving) anything until it exists on a screen or page in front of you.
- But stop too. Nobody can write more than a certain amount at one time before the quality sinks.
- Accept there will be good days and bad days – like anything creative. Or even non creative (I compare it to reverse parking. Days when you can fit in the tiniest of spaces, others when you give up, shrug and drive away like you didn’t even notice the people blaring their horns behind you.)
- Read aloud what you’ve written. Nothing like it to make sense of sentence structure.
- Avoid using the same words and sentence structure over and over again, even if they’re your favourites, especially adverbs. (Anxiously, I checked if I’d done this here. Carefully, I read these top tips aloud. Fortuitously, I realised I hadn’t. Anxiously, I wondered if people would get my point here.) haha
- Don’t worry about Twitter, Facebook etc. while you’re writing. Let the dishes pile up but you probably should pay the bills.
- Get your work edited by a pro before sending it to agents or publishers and certainly before publishing it yourself. If you can’t afford this, ask around – there will always be nosey parkers (nice ones) and ex teachers whose fingers twitch at the thought of some marking. Or get just an affordable section edited which may point to improvements you could make throughout. Honestly, it’s better than nothing. Another pair of eyes will see typos and errors you missed and can help with style and content worries too, if you let them. Don’t rely solely on spellcheck and grammar check and never use Google translate.
- Check that timelines, dates, locations etc work in your story. Is Saleem tall and well covered on one page and diminutive on another? Is the war still going on, or did it end? Does Amelia who lives in Basingstoke gobble risotto in chapter one and spit it out in her Manchester kitchen the next day?
- Accept criticism graciously. Also, ignore criticism – it’s your book!
- Don’t set your heart on a traditional publishing contract. If you get one, congratulations! If not, there are many other pathways to publication nowadays and they all have pros and cons. Good luck!
Huge thanks to Jessica for sharing her top tips. If you’d like to find out more about the author and her books then you can connect with her here:
The Magic Carpet can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y2gk2g7q
The Infinity Pool is at getBook.at/TheInfinityPool
Jessica blogs at: https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com/